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Solomon Northup was an African-American farmer and musician who was taken hostage and sold into slavery in 1841; his story is told in the film 12 Years a Slave.
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Northup subsequently gave lectures on his experiences and worked with the Underground Railroad in helping those fleeing slavery to reach Canada. He later disappeared from public life and is thought to have died around 1863.
Years later, filmmaker/photographer Gordon Parks released an American Playhouse film on Northup's life, Solomon Northup's Odyssey. And at the end of the millennium, Saratoga Springs resident Renee Moore established the event "Solomon Northup Day: A Celebration of Freedom," which was set up by the city as an annual occurrence in 2002.
Going forth a decade, 2013 saw the release of the film 12 Years a Slave, based on the book by Northup and directed by British filmmaker Steve McQueen. Actor Chiwetel Ejiofor depicts Northup to great acclaim in what is said to be a harrowing, emotional work.
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